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September 16, 2008         DOL Home > OALJ Home > Rules of Practice and Procedure   

Rules of Practice Collection Logo RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Proceedings before the Office of Administrative Law Judges are generally governed by rules of practice and procedure found in 29 C.F.R. Part 18. Nonetheless, to the extent that any Part 18 rule is inconsistent with a rule or procedure required by statute, executive order, or regulation, the latter is controlling. 29 C.F.R. § 18.1(a).

Rules of Practice and Procedure -- OALJ

Federal Court Rules

The following are federal court rules effective as of December 1, 2005 in Adobe PDF format:

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are slated for a comprehensive stylistic revision effective December 1, 2007 unless Congress votes to stop them from taking effect.

Administrative Review Board

Secretary's Order 1-2002 replaced Secretary's Order 02-96, effective September 24, 2002. Secretary's Order 1-2002 is similar to order it replaces, except it increases the total maximum membership of the Board from four to five, and clarifies ARB procedural authority and further delineates the authority and responsibilities of the Secretary.

  • Secretary's Order 1-2002, Delegation of Authority and Responsibility to the Administrative Review Board, 67 Fed. Reg. 64272 (Oct. 17, 2002) HTML | PDF

Effective May 3, 1996, the Administrative Review Board replaced the Office of Administrative Appeals, the Wage Appeals Board and the Board of Service Contract Appeals. The Administrative Review Board is designated to issues final agency decisions under a number of laws where such decisions were previously issued by the Secretary of Labor.

  • Secretary's Order 2-96 (Authority and Responsibilities of the Administrative Review Board), 61 Fed. Reg. 19978 (1996)
  • Final Rule Establishing Adminstrative Review Board, 61 Fed. Reg. 19982 (1996)
Benefits Review Board

The Benefits Review Board's rules of practice and procedure are found in 20 C.F.R. Part 802.

See also


Note on Regulatory History of Rules

The Rules of Practice and Procedure were first published as a final rule in 1983. 48 Fed. Reg. 32538 (July 15, 1983). Although there is a short preamble explaining that the purpose of the rules is to ensure that proceedings before Department ALJs are as uniform as possible, the rules were not subject to notice and comment pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 553(d), and a detailed regulatory history for the original rules does not exist. It is fair to state, however, that the rules are modeled on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but adjusted for hearings in the administrative context.

A number of minor technical amendments were made to the Rules in 1984. 49 Fed. Reg. 2739 (Jan. 20, 1984).

In 1989, a set of proposed Rules of Evidence were published for notice and comment, 54 Fed. Reg. 2310 (Jan. 19, 1989), with a Final Rule published in 1990. 55 Fed. Reg. 2 (Apr. 9, 1990). These rules are modeled on the Federal Rules of Evidence, but modified for formal adversarial adjudicatory proceedings. The rules are intended to provide necessary guidance as to the admissibility of evidence in such proceedings, and include extensive Reporter's Notes. The Rules of Evidence do not apply if they are inconsistent with a statute, regulation, or executive order. 29 C.F.R. § 18.1101(c). Nor do the Rules of Evidence apply to black lung benefits or longshore workers' compensation proceedings. 29 C.F.R. § 18.1101(b).

In 1991, an amendment was made to reflect a change in address of the Office of Administrative Law Judges. 56 Fed. Reg. 54708 (Oct. 22, 1991).

In 1993, an amendment was made to permit the use of settlement judges as a means of alternative dispute resolution. 58 Fed. Reg. 3822 (Jan. 11, 1993) (proposed rule); 58 Fed. Reg. 38498 (July 16, 1993) (final rule). This amendment was modeled on Recommendation 88-5 of the Administrative Conference of the United States, 1 C.F.R. § 305.88-5 and the settlement judge procedure of other federal agencies.

In 1994, an Interim Final Rule was published to amend certain filing and service requirements. 59 Fed. Reg. 41874 (Aug. 15, 1994). Essentially, these amendments (1) provided rules limiting the use of fax machines to file documents to instances when faxes are explicitly permitted by statute or regulation or the presiding ALJ, and (2) eliminated the routine filing of discovery documents. Although not amendments to Part 18, several other Departmental regulations were updated to permit the use of fax or overnight courier as an alternative to use of a telegram when requesting a hearing in certain time sensitive proceedings.

In 1995, the filing and service amendments were adopted as a Final Rule. 60 Fed. Reg. 26970 (May 19, 1995). The Final Rule made only one change to the Interim Final Rule to conform it to practice in the United States District Courts. Specifically, if a party is represented by an attorney or other representative, only the attorney or representative is served unless direct service is ordered by the presiding ALJ. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(b); 29 C.F.R. § 18.3(b) (as amended by this Final Rule). It should be noted that this service amendment applies only to service by a party; it does not change the ALJ's obligation to serve both parties and their representatives, unless the parties waive personal service.

In 1999, a Final Rule was published amending the settlement judge rule at section 18.9(e) to permit the appointment of settlement judges in cases arising out of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq., the Defense Base Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act, and the former District of Columbia Workmen's Compensation Act. 64 Fed. Reg. 47087 (Aug. 27, 1999).

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